Egypt’s election commission referred to the constitutional court a law stripping officials in former President Hosni Mubarak’s government of many of their political rights, as it reversed its decision barring the ousted leader’s last premier from running for office.
The panel was to announce today a final list of candidates for the May 23-24 presidential race. Based on its decision late yesterday, the list would include Ahmed Shafiq, which may inject tension into the vote after the commission earlier disqualified Khairat el-Shater, the Muslim Brotherhood’s chief candidate, and Salafi lawyer-turned-cleric Hazem Abou Ismail for other legal technicalities. Their disqualification prompted Islamists to say the ruling military council was trying to engineer the return of the ousted regime.
The decision to allow Shafiq back into the race “reaffirms that we live in country where the rule of law is sovereign,” his attorney, Shawki el-Sayed, told the state-run Middle East News Agency late yesterday. Shafiq had appealed his ejection from the race on grounds that the law was unconstitutional and was passed after he announced his candidacy.
Shafiq was appointed prime minister in Mubarak’s final days in office. He left the job about a month later amid mounting criticism of anyone who had links to Mubarak.
The court previously declined to deal with the matter when it was raised by the country’s military rulers, saying it couldn’t rule on something that had yet to become law. The military council subsequently signed it into law.
The measure was drafted by the Islamist-dominated parliament after Mubarak’s longtime intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman, entered the race, stoking fears that he and the military were seeking to recreate the old regime. Suleiman, who served as vice president in the Mubarak administration’s final days, was also booted from the race by the commission on electoral technicalities. Both he and the military denied the Islamists’ allegations.
To contact the reporter on this story: Tarek El-Tablawy in Cairo at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at email@example.com